The U.K.’s music streaming industry is now in the crosshairs of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) while a study is being conducted to determine the level of competitiveness in the sector.
“The U.K. has a love affair with music and is home to many of the world’s most popular artists,” CMA CEO Andrea Coscelli said in a statement. “We want to do everything we can to ensure that this sector is competitive, thriving and works in the interests of music lovers.”
The study is intended to uncover if the CMA needs to step in with additional guidance to boost competition. Market studies will be conducted to determine if a full investigation is warranted. Market studies examine if an industry sector is not working in consumers’ best interests. The results can lead to a number of outcomes, including recommendations for policy changes; market suggestions for self-regulation; enforcement action; a more in depth study; or no action necessary.
Since over 80% of music in the U.K. is now streamed, the CMA’s deep dive aims to determine if platforms like Spotify have excessive domination.
Following discussions by the CMA Board, the CMA is now working on the final scope of the study with the intent to release it as soon as that’s finished. The CMA also outlined its expected next steps in a letter to the Government and the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.
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Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music — the three largest music companies worldwide — control roughly 75% of the recording sector in the U.K. That gives them the ability to strike profitable deals with music streaming platforms like Spotify, according to a July report by the culture select committee of MPs into the economics of streaming.
Many musicians have expressed that their cut of royalties from streaming deals with record companies is unfair.